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NYC School Librarian Guidebook: Hardware

A blueprint to the policies, standards, and procedures that enable library personnel to develop, organize, and manage exemplary school library programs.

Laptops--Michael Dodes (A Philip Randolph Campus High School)

Laptops are one of the more versatile pieces of hardware in a library, in some cases replacing desktops. In former times, laptops were the less powerful cousins of desktops which in turn for more portability, gave less power, and less ability to modify the specifications beyond the initial shipment with the notable exception of RAM. These days, many laptops can be purchased for almost the same price as a desktop and still have specifications that far exceed those needs of most programs.
The first decision a librarian has to make about laptops is where they are going to be used. Furniture can be purchased that is convertible and allows laptops to “pop-up” if space in a library is at a premium. However, these will frequently be locked down to prevent theft which takes advantage of their small size and not their portability. Another option is a mobile cart that both secures and charges laptops. Usually this is achieved by internal power strips by which many laptops are attached to and are then connected outside the cart by one to several power cords (depending on the number of internal strips and their size). These carts can range from very light, to very heavy but are the best solution for building a portable lab for a building that lacks the size for a full lab, or, has too few labs available. It should be noted that battery consideration is important in this choice because assuming a mobile lab will have upwards of 20 laptops, most rooms do not have sufficient amounts of power outlets natively such that, that a full number of students can “plug-in” – even If outlets are expanded using extension cords and power strips, it can create awkward room configurations and tripping hazards without careful planning. Lithium-ion batteries will typically decay to about 50% of their initial maximum charge over the life of a laptop, so, keep this in consideration depending how long they will be held on to, how frequently they will be used, and, whether they will need to rely on battery power. Laptops after usage then need to be re-connected to the cart’s power source individually. Laptops are also far more delicate than desktops typically, because, if the entire unit is used in a portable state, it’s more likely to be dropped. They are also more susceptible to rapid degradation than laptops because laptops by practical necessity, have poorer cooling systems than laptops. Where fans output heat on the system unit from the laptop should be investigated – if a laptop only possesses vents on its bottom for instance, this can lead to much quicker destruction due to internal heating that degrades components as the bottom is typically blocked unless it’s artificially elevated. Other concerns that can and should be investigated include how “hot” a laptop runs (usually a combination of processor and sometimes a “discrete” graphics card which is not usually standard as of the time of this writing). If the body of the laptop is a conductive metal such as aluminum, for instance, over short to long periods of time, internal heat from the laptop can be conducted to the keyboard, trackpad, and/or wrist rests which can be uncomfortable at best and possibly hazardous at worst. Most laptops do not suffer from this issue, but, it is a concern. Finally, screen size and brightness are the number one consumers of power in laptops. In many cases bigger may be better, but, if you’re planning a laptop lab, the amount of desktop students need (with regards to monitor size) should be weighed against battery considerations. The size of the laptop also impacts its weight.
Laptops as noted in installation and maintenance, are typically protected by either being placed in the equivalent of a mobile safe with charging capabilities, or, locked down onto the tops of whatever surface will be used for computing. Because of their obvious mobility, theft is the number one concern in security although damage from food/water is also possible. Every laptop should have an identifying code or serial number that should be recorded. Also, to the extent reasonable and possible, laptops should be signed out or otherwise tracked to which students and/or teachers receive them. If loaning out mobile carts, the number of laptops present at the start of the loan should be noted and the teacher should track which students take responsibility. In this vein, while it can be difficult to recoup the loss of a laptop from student unless very explicit arrangements are made with parents beforehand, students should be educated in the care of a laptop so as to minimize abuse and be aware of the very real consequences of theft.
Before implementing laptops, policies should be established for their care and check-out policies if needed, and parents should be made aware that students will be engaging with the devices, which is particularly important in Primary school grades. If the laptops are connected to the internet (and as more and more schools have wi-fi, this is likely if not practically certain in most schools), then filtering policies need to be established and students educated on computing practices. There is also a possibility that students may run into objectionable content despite filtering (filtering is required under current Federal Law (CIPA) for public institutions receiving E-rate funding – which includes most schools). Parents and students should be made aware of this and every attempt made to keep students from accessing such content. A strong internet usage policy is also recommended.

Laptops--Michael Dodes (A Philip Randolph Campus High School)

Purpose

Laptops are one of the more versatile pieces of hardware in a library, in some cases replacing desktops.  In former times, laptops were the less powerful cousins of desktops which in turn for more portability, gave less power, and less ability to modify the specifications beyond the initial shipment with the notable exception of RAM.  These days, many laptops can be purchased for almost the same price as a desktop and still have specifications that far exceed those needs of most programs. 

 

Installation/maintenance considerations

The first decision a librarian has to make about laptops is where they are going to be used.  Furniture can be purchased that is convertible and allows laptops to “pop-up” if space in a library is at a premium.  However, these will frequently be locked down to prevent theft which takes advantage of their small size and not their portability.

Another option is a mobile cart that both secures and charges laptops.  Usually this is achieved by internal power strips by which many laptops are attached to and are then connected outside the cart by one to several power cords (depending on the number of internal strips and their size).  These carts can range from very light, to very heavy but are the best solution for building a portable lab for a building that lacks the size for a full lab, or, has too few labs available.  It should be noted that battery consideration is important in this choice because assuming a mobile lab will have upwards of 20 laptops, most rooms do not have sufficient amounts of power outlets natively such that, that a full number of students can “plug-in” – even If outlets are expanded using extension cords and power strips, it can create awkward room configurations and tripping hazards without careful planning. 

Lithium-ion batteries will typically decay to about 50% of their initial maximum charge over the life of a laptop, so, keep this in consideration depending how long they will be held on to, how frequently they will be used, and, whether they will need to rely on battery power.  Laptops after usage then need to be re-connected to the cart’s power source individually.

Laptops are also far more delicate than desktops typically, because, if the entire unit is used in a portable state, it’s more likely to be dropped.  They are also more susceptible to rapid degradation than laptops because laptops by practical necessity, have poorer cooling systems than laptops.  Where fans output heat on the system unit from the laptop should be investigated – if a laptop only possesses vents on its bottom for instance, this can lead to much quicker destruction due to internal heating that degrades components as the bottom is typically blocked unless it’s artificially elevated.

Other concerns that can and should be investigated include how “hot” a laptop runs (usually a combination of processor and sometimes a “discrete” graphics card which is not usually standard as of the time of this writing).  If the body of the laptop is a conductive metal  such as aluminum, for instance, over short to long periods of time, internal heat from the laptop can be conducted to the keyboard, trackpad, and/or wrist rests which can be uncomfortable at best and possibly hazardous at worst.  Most laptops do not suffer from this issue, but, it is a concern.

Finally, screen size and brightness are the number one consumers of power in laptops. In many cases bigger may be better, but, if you’re planning a laptop lab, the amount of desktop students need (with regards to monitor size) should be weighed against battery considerations.  The size of the laptop also impacts its weight.


Security

Laptops as noted in installation and maintenance, are typically protected by either being placed in the equivalent of a mobile safe with charging capabilities, or, locked down onto the tops of whatever surface will be used for computing. 

Because of their obvious mobility, theft is the number one concern in security although damage from food/water is also possible.  Every laptop should have an identifying code or serial number that should be recorded.  Also, to the extent reasonable and possible, laptops should be signed out or otherwise tracked to which students and/or teachers receive them.  If loaning out mobile carts, the number of laptops present at the start of the loan should be noted and the teacher should track which students take responsibility.

In this vein, while it can be difficult to recoup the loss of a laptop from student unless very explicit arrangements are made with parents beforehand, students should be educated in the care of a laptop so as to minimize abuse and be aware of the very real consequences of theft.


Rollout

Before implementing laptops, policies should be established for their care and check-out policies if needed, and parents should be made aware that students will be engaging with the devices, which is particularly important in Primary school grades.  If the laptops are connected to the internet (and as more and more schools have wi-fi, this is likely if not practically certain in most schools), then filtering policies need to be established and students educated on computing practices.  There is also a possibility that students may run into objectionable content despite filtering (filtering is required under current Federal Law (CIPA)  for public institutions receiving E-rate funding – which includes most schools).  Parents and students should be made aware of this and every attempt made to keep students from accessing such content.  A strong internet usage policy is also recommended. 


Best Practices:

Best practices for the care of laptops are as followed:  Make sure the storage device for them has power strips, and, that the laptops are hooked up to it on a regular basis and that the cart it self is plugged in.

There should be a procedure for signing them out or making them available to staff and if they’re contained to a room, a procedure for tracking room usage.

There should be a means of controlling distribution if the laptops are not secured to a single spot.

Numbering them is a helpful way to ensure that they are quickly received at the end of a session.

Students should be trained in their usage and how to care for them, as well as their responsibility as a community member for helping maintain student access.

Student usage should always be monitored to ensure students are on-task and not finding their way to sites that are developmentally inappropriate or otherwise inappropriate for school use.

All other caveats for how students use school computers such as subscribing to an internet usage policy, digital citizenship, identity protection, and the like are all connected to the access laptops provide but are outside the scope of this section.

Students should be given access with identified educational goals to be met so that they are used appropriately and students stay on meaningful learning tasks.

Alternatives:

As of the time of this writing, there is considerable variation among types of laptops.  Those will be addressed here.

The primary drivers of cost in a laptop are the size of its screen, its RAM/Processor, Hard Drive type/size, and battery size.

A general size for a screen is between 13’’ to 14.1’’ and in larger laptops,’ ranging up to 17’’ typically with larger sizes being less common in the 18.4’’ and up range.

Hard drive choices consist of the choice between faster and smaller Solid-State Drives (SSD) or traditional “platter” hard drives which are slower but have much more space.  While Solid-State Hybrid Drives (SSHD) (drives which include one of each type of drive to get the “best of both worlds”) are available, they are a very new technology for laptops at the time of this writing.  It is a field of technology to be aware of however.

The range of laptops in terms of performance and portability generally runs from very tiny (on the order of 11’’ screens in netbooks) with lower performance, to much larger and lighter “Ultrabooks”.

Netbooks are a brand of computer that is not enjoying much success at the time of this writing as several major competitors in that market have withdrawn their product lines.  They are a very small and generally much slower brand of laptop that while sacrificing on size and performance, also cut costs to be much lower as they were designed to forego the application-running ability of most laptops to support web-only access and other similar productivity tools.  The decreased performance because of a necessarily smaller processor and weak graphics support as well as what operating system is installed make a huge difference in overall performance.  However, it is anticipated that recent advances in mobile graphics computing such as in smartphones may improve performance in lower battery laptops as well.

Ultrabooks are a new class of laptops  (as of the time of this writing) for intel-specific processors that are defined by ultra-light designs, longer battery life, and solid performance.  As of the time of this writing, they are also required to be touch screens to receive the Ultrabook branding.  However, whether a laptop is labelled ultrabook or not, it is the class of light, and powerful performance with solid battery life that is the key to this emerging field of high performance laptops.


Limitations

Most schools, unless they are dealing with processor heavy programs such as the Adobe Suite of products, Auto-CAD, graphic design, movie editing, etc., will consider mid-range to lower end laptops/netbooks due to both cost and the cost of replacement in the case of damage.

The rate of theft will be predictably higher for laptops so the cost to replace machines needs to be factored in.  Strong warranties lasting for the maximum length of each laptop should be procured, because, unlike consumer machines where there is one user, machines with dozens if not hundreds of users can almost certainly cause harm to some of them – and covering the cost of even a few machines with a stronger warranty will likely cover the cost of covering all of them compared to replacement costs.

Wi-fi will be a limitation as well as without a strong wi-fi network within the areas where they will be used, much of the laptops use will be limited. 

A network printer should also be present if students are expected to print work which enables multiple computers to print over the internet rather than via Ethernet cords and while most laptops have this as a standard feature, the laptops should have a wireless card (the most current standards are 802.11 g/n in schools)

The ability to secure, store, and power, account for usage/access, and make them accessible to the school are also possibly limiting factors.

A final factor to consider is whether students have the proper training for the care of laptops and/or the computing ability to make effective use of one.  Computer training might be more effective on computers with larger keyboards and discrete mice.

 

Peripherals--Adalena Kavanagh (Sunset Park High School)

 

Projectors

 

Purpose

 

Projectors are used to display media to an audience (class, groups of students and or teachers, meeting, etc.)

 

Installation

 

Projectors should be housed on a cart or placed on a tall podium or table so that media can be properly displayed on a wall, screen or interactive whiteboard.

(Projector  will be hooked up to a media source, for example: laptop, desktop, ipod/ipad, tablet,  television/dvd/videoplayer, digital camera or video camera.)

 

Security

 

Stored the projector in a locked secure place. You may want to invest in a special projector cart that has a lockable compartment that you can place projector, adaptors, cables, extension cord, and small speakers.) The cart itself should be stored in a safe secure place. If  the projector is to be used by teachers and students, a sign out protocol should be in place to keep track of use.

 

Rollout

 

Once the projector is set up, the librarian can begin to use the equipment with students as needed.

 

Best Practices

 

Since we aim to introduce technology to our students, librarians should become comfortable using the projector in her lessons. Instead of relying on chart paper or white boards to introduce lessons, the librarian can project their AIM/DO Now with the projector and move into group practice so that all students can see. Projectors can be used to demonstrate how to give presentations using slideshow presentation tools like PowerPoint. Using a projector also allows librarians to display other media to large groups of students. This can include databases, websites, movies, etc.

 

Limitations

 

Projectors are not interactive the way interactive white boards are. Bulbs must be replaced eventually.

 

 

 

Ipods/playaways/mp3 devices

 

Purpose

 

Audio books, and in some cases, recording audio

 

Installation

 

A playaway has an individual audio book pre-loaded into the device. iPods and other mp3 devices require the librarian to select, purchase and upload individual audio books to the device using iTunes or the proprietary software the device requires.

 

Security

 

Individual devices should be assigned a barcode so that they can be checked out to individual users in the OPAC. Contracts should be created and sent home with students who wish to check out these devices. A security cart that includes syncing and charging is ideal. The security carts and devices should be stored in a safe secure location.

 

Rollout

 

Once the devices are set up, librarians can begin using them with small groups or individuals as they see fit.

 

Best practices

 

Audio books are a valuable resource for all students but especially valuable learning tools for English Language Learners, students with special needs, and students who struggle with literacy. Librarians could host audio book clubs where students listen/read to individual chapters and then participate in a discussion led by the librarian. Literacy circles could also be adapted to accommodate audio books. Individual students should also be encouraged to check out audio books to help them with their fluency.

 

In addition to listening to audio books, students can use mp3 players with recording apps to record their responses to audio books, or to demonstrate their reading fluency.

 

Limitations

 

Playaways are expensive. iPods and mp3 devices are attractive to students and may be targets of theft. Mp3 players must be synced and updated regularly. Money must be set aside for audio titles.

 

 

 

Digital Cameras/Video Cameras

 

Purpose

Collect evidence of learning, create multimedia projects.

 

Installation

 

Each digital camera and or video camera will have set up instructions. You will probably have to purchase memory cards for individual digital cameras/ video cameras separately. You may also want to invest in an extra battery in case of loss or theft.

 

Considerations

 

What kind of video camera you purchase depends on the fidelity you need and the amount you have to spend. Most librarians will look at flash memory camcorders.

 

Security

 

Barcode cameras/video recorders for individual checkout. Have contracts in place for individual students. Have sign out procedures in place. Store in safe, secure place.

 

Best Practices

 

The librarian will want to collect evidence of student learning and digital cameras/video cameras are a great way to document your work for teacher portfolios or tenure portfolios. Cameras and video cameras are also great tools for students to use to create multimedia projects and or presentations. Make sure to have strong protocols in place so that students do not abuse the equipment and to reduce the possibility of theft.

 

 

 

 

Chargers/Adapters/Batteries/Replacement Bulbs

 

Purpose

 

These items allow your equipment to run, or connect to other devices (for example, you will usually need an adapter to connect your mac laptop/desktop/ipod/ipad to a projector).

 

Installation

 

You will use these items in conjunction with other items.

 

Security

 

These items will most likely be stored with the technologies they are paired with. Store in a safe and secure place.

 

Best Practices

 

It’s good practice to keep track of these items just as you would with large pieces of hardware so you might want to assign barcodes to each item. For example, if a teacher borrows a charger, you should have them sign it out, or better yet, check it out in the OPAC. This will lessen theft and loss. Consider the probable life of the equipment these items will be paired with. Before you order replacements and or extras consider whether you will actually need them in the coming years. If you are missing a charger/adapter/battery etc, but the equipment only has one more year of life you might not want to spend the money on a replacement and just wait to invest money in new hardware.

 

Limitations

 

These items are easy to lose and are usually expensive to replace. If you are missing a charger, you might just want to charge devices in stages instead of spending money on a replacement. It depends on how often your equipment is used.

 

 

 

Printers

 

Purpose

 

Print documents and student documents

 

Installation

 

This will usually be done by DOE tech support

 

Security

 

Invest in lockdown for individual printers

 

Best Practices

 

If you can set up a central control over printing from your personal work computer this might cut down excess printing.

 

Limitations/considerations

 

Cost. You will need to replace toner, photoconductors and other parts as they break down or are used up. Consider the reliability of a machine in addition to the cost of replacing these items. Printers are usually bought under warranty so maintenance will usually be covered, but your school will have to pay for replacement toner, photoconductors, etc.

 

 

 

 

Copier/Printer/Scanner combination machine

 

Purpose

 

Printing, copying and scanning for librarian use

 

Installation

This will usually be done by DOE Security: You may lockdown this device if it is small and you believe there is possibility for theft.

 

Best Practices

 

This will most likely be for the librarian’s use.

 

Limitations/Considerations:

 

Cost. How much will it cost to replace toner? When you are choosing a machine, look into reliability in addition to frequency and cost of replacing toner.

 

 

Barcode Scanner

 

Purpose

 

To check materials in and out of the OPAC. Also used for inventory.

 

Installation

 

Most do not need software but just follow instructions. Most will connect with desktops or laptops with a usb connector.

 

Security

 

You may want to lock your barcode scanner each night in a safe secure place. This depends on your school environment. If your computer is locked down, you may also have the barcode scanner locked down the same way your mouse is locked down, but then you will not be able to use the scanner with a laptop to conduct and inventory of books/materials.

 

Best Practices

 

Do not let students flash one another with the barcode scanner.

 

Limitations/considerations:

 

Consider cost. Some people like wireless scanners but those are expensive and you can do the same thing with a regular scanner and a laptop.

 

 

 

Desktop Computers--Adalena Kavanagh (Sunset Park High School)

Purpose

Desktops are the workhorse of any lab/library setting.  They have the most flexibility in terms of usable software, and are compatible with almost all peripherals.  So long as specific hardware needs are met, they can perform almost any computing task.  Desktops have access to a wide variety of hardware possibilities, but, processing power has far outstripped the applications students will use (the primary considerations being RAM, Processors, and Hard Drive Space).  Even though tablets and laptops can be used in the library, a handful of desktops is necessary for everyday tasks for students, especially because of their power, durability, stability, and relative security.  Their components are also more easily replaced and upgraded.

Installation/Maintenance Considerations

Desktops are the least portable unit of technology.  Permanent Lockdowns need to be considered. They need to be close to power sources and internet connections.  If they have a wi-fi card, wireless internet may be used instead of a hard connection but wireless accessibility should be checked beforehand.  Desktops need a minimum of 2 power connections for separate monitor/tower configurations or 1 power connection for all-in-ones.

Desktops need to have updates for anti-virus installed and possibly OS updates.  Desktops will grow slower over time and with extended use.  They are however more durable than most other forms of computing technology and can last several years with attention paid to their physical upkeep such as being kept out of extremes of hot and cold – so placing them next to a radiator may impact their longevity.

Because they are fairly permanent installations, there should be space considerations made for personal space for each anticipated desktop, including room for chairs to be pulled out from desks, and walking space if 2 chairs are back-to-back because of “aisle” configurations that will place 2 users close to each other’s backs.

Spare keyboards should be kept as students are likely to pry some keys out and lose them or break them and keys are largely interchangeable, particularly in identical keyboards.  Mice can only be replaced once broken practically (the less discrete buttons on the mouse to be pulled on, the longer the mouse will likely endure as the “clickers” are typically the first piece to go as opposed to the optical laser on the bottom.

Many computers come with external speakers, though not all.  Sound needs should be evaluated, though; typically in a library lab setting external volume is discouraged in favor of headphone usage.  Many times these speakers are removable, though, in many cases they are internal and can’t be physically removed.

Most computers have at least a 1 year basic warranty, and terms of warranties should be reviewed. Extended warranties should be considered as they can extend the life of a desktop to get the maximum use out of them.

Rollout

Usage policies are the first consideration when developing a desktop lab setting.  Policies such as:  Internet Usage, Application Usage, Printer Usage, Lab Usage for Classes and Scheduling, and sound or headphone policies.

Best Practices

Desktops are the ideal multi-purpose tools in that they have the most processing power for the least cost.  For that reason, they can be used for collective lessons on internet browsing, catalog usage, word processing, multimedia presentation development, and for digital citizenship.

Alternatives

In considering hard drives, one will find 3 alternatives.  A traditional “platter” hard drive will be the cheapest and largest it has the drawback of also being the slowest which effects the desktop’s start-up and load times. Typical sizes as of the time of this writing are 500GB or more for this type of hard drive.

An alternative is known as an SSD or Solid-State drive, which, is the most expensive, and typical sizes  range from 64GB to 256GB but also is the fastest. 

The third and final alternative is hybrid drives, which utilize a SSD drive for boot-up processes and loading programs, but also has a traditional hard drive to grant greater storage.  Their prices vary greatly and are also the newest and least tested configuration.  Their prices will typically be lower than buying the largest SSD drives.

Computers can have various amounts of RAM.  4GB is a bare minimum amount as of the time of this writing.

The operating system, which is more of a software configuration issue, still has connections to hardware.  The Apple OSX operating system is generally configured to run on Apple Hardware. Microsoft’s Windows is a bit more malleable and can fit most computers, but, has the drawback of not having programs be as directly tailored to the hardware needs as with Apple’s which traditionally has very little flexibility in configurations.  The final alternative is Linux (typically the Ubuntu build) which, has the advantage of being free, and thus, driving down the cost of the computer, but, also has the least ongoing support and the least compatibility with many applications.

LCD monitors are the de-facto choices as far as monitors go as of the time of this writing.  The main consideration is size, with the bare minimum usually being 19’’ and ranging to 23’’.  There are larger  monitors such as 27’’ displays, but, cost does increase greatly with size as well as the footprint of the computer.  In some cases, dual monitors might be considered (creating effectively a much larger desktop).  These do require a “discrete” graphics card that explicitly supports a dual monitor configuration.

Limitations                                                                                                                       

The greatest limitation of desktops is their lack of portability.  They also as noted in installation considerations, need access to a number of power drops as needed depending on a tower/monitor or all-in-one configuration.  There also are a limited number of computers that can be attached to a single drop, even if it is being multiplied using power strips so the amount of power that each outlet puts out is a consideration and can be the single biggest limiting factor in building a large lab as construction may need to be done to provide sufficient power.

As noted in installation considerations, space for each user must also be considered which makes reconfiguring students to work in groups together more difficult, and also, makes students sharing work in groups on single computers much more difficult.  Configuring computers in “clusters” or a round configuration can alleviate space sharing issues, but comes at the cost of requiring more physical space overall.

Security

Ideally, every computer should have a permanent “lockdown” device.  These usually consist of a metal plate that locks the tower and is then threaded to the monitor, or, of a heavy metal cable that is then attached to the tower and connected to a heavy piece of furniture such as the table they are using. The security for a All-in-One computer is similar to that of a desktop except that with a desktop, as the monitor needs to be secured as well, it needs to be “threaded” into the lockdown device.

Peripherals such as mice and keyboards should be included in the lockdown as well.

 

Other Considerations:

Special consideration should be given to computers that fall into the category of servers.  While they are an entire other category of desktop, they are useful in serving up applications to multiple computers, providing an OPAC system, providing content to users, and regulating user access to computers.  To effectively run a server though, a person with a background in server administration should be in the building as maintenance and security are important concerns with a computer that is effectively responsible for handling a lot of students’ and staffs’ infcrmation.  They will make logging activity for users much easier and easier to detect and respond to problems, but, they do require someone capable of administering it.

eReaders--Jody Cavaliere (Staten Island Technical High School)

Purpose

Whether eReaders are here long term or a stepping-stone to the next electronic means of accessing information, it is indisputable that they are here now.  In order to keep a library current, it is important to consider eReaders as an option to providing reading materials for both scholarly/research information and personal reading interests. 

Installation Considerations

There are a few basic questions to consider when purchasing/installing

eReaders in the library:

·         Is the platform being used compatible with the DOE wi-fi?

·         Does the device have 3G (or better)?

·         If the platform is not compatible, how will material be added?

·         Does the device allow access to the Internet?

·         Are the eReaders able to be synchronized, or does material have to be uploaded to each individual device?

·         When purchasing materials, how will content be added to the device?

·         Who will be responsible for managing the account(s)?

·         What is required for an account to be set-up (ex: credit card, gift cards, etc…)

·         Is the device compatible with the public library eBooks?

·         If the devices are compatible, what is the procedure for downloading public library content?

·         Can the library eBooks (ex: Follett Shelf, subscription eBooks) be viewed/accessed on the device?

·         Can you try the device in the library first before purchasing it?

·         See which formats are compatible for downloading.  There are many websites that offer free and legal content in a variety of formats.  What is compatible with the device being considered?

 

Security

Some measures that can be taken to insure the maintenance and security of your equipment are as follows:

·         Purchase a cart to charge and lock equipment.

·         Catalog all equipment within the library and also inventory it on the school’s inventory list of equipment.

·         Decide whether or not you will be allowing the equipment to circulate

a.      in the library

b.      out of the library to classes

c.       for home use

·         Develop a contract clearly defining the expectation for use and returns (See Appendix A -- Sample Contract) and only allow students to use the equipment upon completion of the contract.

·         Develop a procedure for tracking equipment in use. Possible suggestions include:

a.      Holding a student’s ID card and placing it in the cart where the equipment is stored for in library use.

b.      Holding a student’s ID card and placing it in the cart when being used for a class (this requires distribution time to be allotted at the beginning of class and collection time at the end of class).

c.       Checking out the equipment to individual students through the catalog. 

Rollout / Best Practices 

Once the type of equipment that best suits your library is decided upon, purchases are made, and eReaders are received, the possibilities are endless.  Some rollout essentials include:

·         Add Content – As with any collection development, content will be added to the equipment based on funds available, target audience, and usage.  There are many free and legal websites that provide materials that can be downloaded to different devices in different formats.  Additionally, placing a series in its entirety onto a device allows for users to read the whole series and know that the books will all be available.

·         Publicize – let the school community know the additions to the library and let everyone know the intended purposes and uses.  Newsletters, announcements, posters, and the library website are a few places that can host the news.

·         Collaborate – find teachers who would be interested in trying out the new equipment and create units that support the classroom curriculum.  There are many Common Core State Standards that include use of technology as part of the criteria.

·         Create – Book clubs are great for students to use the new technology, read and also spread the word.

·         Promote --  Catalog the content, so that library patrons can see the acquisitions. 

Alternatives and Limitations

If eReaders are the choice, the comparisons are ubiquitous.  Ultimately, decisions will be made on the needs of individual libraries and as always, research is key.

Suggested reading:

CNET has a fairly comprehensive article on eReaders “Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy?”  It can be read at:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20009738-1/kindle-vs-nook-vs-ipad-which e-book-reader-should-you-buy

Consumer Reports has a brief video for free at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/e-book-readers.htm .  Additionally, with a subscription, comparisons for eReaders based on readability, versatility, responsiveness, page turn, navigation, file support, claimed battery life, viewable display size, touch screen, and overall score can be viewed. 

Additionally, there are many blogs from librarians available detailing successes and lessons learned from their eReader experiences within their libraries.  

Depending on funding, user needs, and intended use, laptops or desktops may also be alternatives to consider. See sections on laptops and desktops for additional information.

Interactive Whiteboards--Adam Marcus (PS 32K)

An interactive whiteboard (IWB), is a large touch-sensitive display device that connects to a computer/tablet, allowing the user to participate synergistically as an extension of the monitor. Through the use of a projector, the image shown on the device's screen appears on the board's surface allowing the user to control the device using a pen, finger, stylus, or other instrument. The board is typically mounted to a wall or floor stand.

Purpose

  • To help increase student engagement, addresses the need to teach to the students varying learning styles and improves students attitudes towards using technology and instruction
  • Provides multimedia presentations
  • Allows for student interaction
  • Allows for greater flexibility in instructor presentation
  • Audio and visual
  • Tactile
  • Allows for realtime live information to be projected

Types

SmartBoard http://www.smarttech.com/
Promethean http://www.prometheanworld.com/
Dell http://www.dell.com/Learn/us/en/26/k-12-solut...
Numonics http://www.numonics.com/ipdindex.html
Polyvision http://www.polyvision.com/

Alternatives

Mimio is a cheaper alternative that uses a regular dry-erase board in somewhat the same way.http://www.mimio.com/

eBeam is another of the alternative approaches. http://www.e-beam.com/

eInstruction/Interwrite - http://www.eInstruction.com

Epson Brightlink http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Landin...

Alterntive Interactive Whiteboard Apps

Educreations

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard

Cost

Installation: The board needs electrical source if utilizing the speakers. Each IWB has specific requirements for use with different devices.

Best Practices

  • Get training
  • Modeling: use of the technology as well as content and curriculum.
  • Not a glorified chart board 
  • Allowing students to interact

Limitations

  • Cost
  • Space requirements
  • Companion technology that you will use the board with needs to be current
  • Security: markers, erasers, projectors
  • Classroom management needed
  • Lack of teacher know-how

iPads--Tabitha Johnson

Purpose

iPads are  an excellent tool for engagement.  There are a variety of apps that can be used to enhance student learning in all subject areas.  But iPads can be used as an e-reader, for research, as well as a creation tool (to create e-books with students, videos, etc.)

Cost

Prices do fluctuate.  The minimum cost is $299 for an iPad Mini and starting at $499 for an iPad.  iPad price compare.

iPad minis can be a cost effective alternative to the iPad, althought they are a somewhat slower device

Peripherals

  • Cases to protect the iPad and prevent breakage
    • The cost of the cases vary.  Cases can cost as little as $20, but might not offer as much protection.  The Otterbox cases offer excellent protection, but are very costly.
  • Syncing and charging devices.   
  • Laptop or desktop to sync the iPads.
    • If you do buy a cart that syncs, know that syncing with a PC, still means you are individually syncing each iPad, though you can do it through 1 iTunes account.  To truly sync all the iPads at once, you need a Mac and the iPad configurator app.

Installation

As you plan the installation of the iPads, you will need to consider where you will store and secure the iPads.  Do you have a spot for the cart?  Do you have a safe? Where will you place the safe?  

You will also need to consider how you will sync the iPads.  Network capabilities -sync wireless or hardware

Cart/storage

Syncing stations, carts.  (Datamation is the approved DOE vendor for security carts.)

Need to think about using PC vs MAC to sync

Buying Apps

Where do your apps lie?  Who will take the apps if you leave your library?  Create generic emails that link to yours so the apps belong to the school rather than personal emails.  

Volume Purchasing Program find explanation to link here

Security

Safely secure iPads, network capabilities-automatic downloads for library or whole school

App Reviews and Market

AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning

Apps Gone Free

App Shopper

Kirkus Book-App Reviews

School Library Journal Apps

Security settings

Apple configurator

Limitations

Small, easily hidden, stolen, serial number, find my iPad,

Setup

Labeling iPads, barcodes, downloading and buying apps

Discussion of iPad as a creation tool

Alternatives

Other tablets: Kindle Fire, Android tablets, Samsung Galaxy Note, Microsoft Surface, other Android devices 

Consider the plethora of apps that are available via Apple 

iPads - Configuration - Melissa Leman (P.S. 32K)

To configure a set of iPads a Mobile Device Manager (MDM) is needed.  There are several to be considered, but most products come with costs associated with them.  However, Cisco's Meraki lets you have up to 100 devices synced for free. 

To get started update all the ipads via Apple Configurator 2, which requires a computer running OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Apple Configurator 2 allows ipads to be supervised by multiple computers, not just one like the old Configurator did. Then, add a WiFi profile and the Meraki profile. Once the profiles are established link the Meraki to your Apple Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) account.  
When ready to purchase APPs, purchase them apps using the VPP account and then add them on Meraki. Within a few minutes, the apps will load on the iPads you indicate.  Meraki runs free Webinars and has tutorials on their website at https://meraki.cisco.com/solutions/k12. Follow Meraki on Twitter at https://twitter.com/meraki

Apple TV--Adam Marcus (PS 32K)

Purpose

An Apple TV allows you to display your iPad or Apple computer screen onto a Smart Board un-tethered to the board. Many students are visual learners and benefit from seeing the instruction and lesson.

Security

You can password protect the Apple TV. I suggest placing it somewhere out of sight, as it is easy to take. Also, place the remote control in a safe place, as it is small and can easily go missing.

Best Practices

I am currently using an Apple TV to wirelessly stream my MacBook or iPad to the Smart Board. I can be anywhere in the library and show students what I am looking at.

·  I model how to use the iPad and an Apple computer.

·  Apps can be used

·  I also use it to display the VisTimer visual timer app as a classroom management tool.

·  It also allows you to stream music from your computer or iPad.

·  I have also used it for staff PDs.

·  Students can quickly show the class something on their iPad by opening the Apple TV from their iPad.

·  Videos can be shown

·  Books can be read

·  FaceTime or Skype can be used

·  Basically anything that you would show on your Smartboards

Alternatives

One drawback of using the Apple TV with the Smart Board is that it takes away the board’s interactivity.

If your Smart Board has Blue Tooth you can purchase a Wireless Bluetooth Connection for SMART Board for about $200.

Other: Roku 3 Streaming Media Player; Google Chromecast

 

Limitations-Cost/other

 

The Apple TV costs $99. I also, purchased a wall mount for an additional $30. You will also need a Smart Board with an HDMI cable (if you do not have one you will need to buy an HDMI to VGA convertor starting at about $30).

The Apple TV and the device that you are displaying from need to be on the same WiFi network.

Chromecast TV

Chromecast https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast/ 

Purpose

Chromecast works with multiple devices (including Android tablets, smartphones, iPhones, iPads, and laptops) by easily connecting a television using an HDMI port to your device allowing for screen sharing from your device.   

Cost

The Chromecast device cost $35.00.  

Initial Requirements/Considerations

https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/3209990?hl=en&ref_topic=3210038 

Security

Chromecast is a small device (roughly the size of a flash drive) and thus, can be easily stolen.  Please take all necessary precautions to secure the device. 

Alternatives

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player; Apple TV

 

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